Monday, February 29, 2016

"Oscar Winners from the Abilene Public Library" | @ the Library Article

The 88th Annual Academy Awards were presented last night, and if you are a movie buff, I hope you were happy with the awards given and received.  One category receiving an award is "Best Adapted Screenplay," which are movies that are based on a previous work or story.  Your Abilene Public Library has a number of these original works available.

In The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine, Michael Lewis examines the causes of the U.S. stock market crash of 2008 and its relation to overpriced real estate, bad mortgages, shareholder demand for excessive profits, and the growth of toxic derivatives.  This is a fresh, character-driven narrative full of indignation and dark humor.

Brooklyn by Colm Toibin is set in Brooklyn and Ireland in the early 1950s, and is the story of a young woman named Ellis Lacey, who is unable to find a proper job in the small Irish town where she lives.  When a priest sponsors her passage to America, she finds employment there and falls in love.  However, devastating news from home threatens the promise of a new life.

Astronaut Mark Watney is one of the first people to walk on Mars.  Unfortunately, he may be the first to die there as well in The Martian by Andy Weir.  After Watney is nearly killed by a dust storm, forcing his crew to evacuate, he is left alone on the desolate planet with no way to even sign Earth of his status.  Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills - and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit - he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next in his quest to survive.

Room by Emma Donoghue is narrated by a five-year-old boy named Jack whose mother keeps him in a single room in order to protect him from the man who has held her prisoner for five years.  But with Jack's curiosity building alongside her own desperation, she knows that Room cannot contain either much longer.  It's a story of unconquerable love in harrowing circumstances, and of the diamond-hard bond between a mother and her child.

The library doesn't have the fifth nominee Carol (also known as The Price of Salt) by Patricia Highsmith, but if you're interested in reading it you can obtain the book through Interlibrary Loan.

We also have books that tell more about the history of the Academy Awards themselves.  The book 85 Years of the Oscar: The Official History of the Academy Awards by Robert Osborne presents his observations as well as information and photographs from the Academy's historical archives.  It's a wonderful book for movie fans.

For more background information, you can also read The Academy Awards: The Complete Unofficial History by Gail Kinn and Jim Piazza, as well as Inside Oscar by Mason Wiley.  Kinn's and Piazza's book contains great stories of actors and directors and a comprehensive list of winners and nominees, as well as stories and pictures of each award ceremony, while one reviewer says of Wiley's book "Movie buffs will enjoy this, and skeptics may very well find reading the book more enjoyable than watching the show."

We've also got a number of previous Oscar winners on DVD, including The King's Speech, 12 Years a Slave, and even older winners like The Godfather and Casablanca.  Regardless of what you choose; check out some of these great items at your Abilene Public Library and the winner is...you!

Article Contributed by Tony Redman, Information Services Librarian at the Main Branch of the Abilene Public Library

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Get Ready to Geek Out @ 3rd Annual Lib-Con, May 2-7

Official Logo
The Abilene Public Library is counting down to the 3rd Annual Lib-Con festivities for the community to enjoy, running Monday, May 2 through Saturday, May 7.  Library staff has been working diligently to put together a week of exciting events, offering more than 40 programs for all ages to get involved in, and all for FREE.  We're celebrating fandom and pop culture of all types from Minecraft and My Little Ponies, to Harry Potter and Star Wars, and we encourage everyone to take a look at what this celebration will offer.

2016 Lib-Con Mascot
Our Lib-Con Website is now live and by visiting you will get a rundown of everything you need to know to start getting prepared.  Lib-Con is the library's annual Spring event, coordinated by librarian Ann Mount, as a way for your library to offer a mini-convention celebrating comics, manga, anime, movies, and fandom.  Larger conventions are increasingly popular, and we're happy to offer you a cost-effective alternative right here in Abilene.

All activities hosted during Lib-Con are 100% free, and we've got activities for kids, families, teens, and adults alike.  Highlights of special activities includes:
  • Cosplay & Art Contests
  • Free Comic Book Day
  • Gaming with the Gathering Place
  • Harry Potter Tri-Wizard Night
  • Special Movie Events
  • FanFic Writing Workshop
  • Face Off: Special Effect Makeup
  • Nerf Wars
  • Great Vendors
  • And so much more...
2015 Teen Cosplayer
We encourage you to visit the Lib-Con website online and see for yourselves everything that we'll have to offer.  Activities will stretch across all library branches, and build in momentum leading up to Saturday, May 7, which will be the biggest day of activities hosted at the Main Library.

We've been steadily gaining in the number of participants each year, and hope that you'll return for a third year, as well as attract even more faces to keep our annual mini-convention growing.  Whether you're a devout fan, or dipping your toes into our world, all are welcome to come discover the joy of geeking out at this annual event.

Don't pass up on your chance to join in on the fun, and if you have any questions regarding Lib-Con, feel free to contact coordinator Ann Mount at 325-676-6025 or email her at Ann.Mount@abilenetx.com.  

See you in May!

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Book-To-Film Adaptations: March 2016

Literature often inspires film adaptations and each month I like to highlight those hitting theaters soon.  Check out this blog entry to see what they are, and be on the lookout for seeing them in theaters...as well as checking out the books they're based on.

The Young Messiah
Starring: Sean Bean
Release Date: March 11
Author: Anne Rice
Summary: At age 7, Jesus Bar-Joseph lives with his family in Alexandria, Egypt, where they have fled to avoid a massacre of children by King Herod of Israel.  Jesus knows that his parents Joseph and Mary have secrets they are keeping from him, secrets about his birth and about traits that make him very different from other boys.  His parents, however, believe him too young to grasp the truth of his miraculous birth and purpose.  Learning that the murderous Herod is dead, they set out to return to their home of Nazareth in Israel, unaware that Herod's namesake son is, like his father, determined to see the boy Jesus dead.

Miracles from Heaven
Starring: Jennifer Garner
Release Date: March 16
Based On: "Miracles from Heaven"
Author: Christy Beam
Summary: Based on the incredible true story of the Beam family, when Christy discovers her 10-year-old daughter Anna has a rare, incurable disease, she becomes a ferocious advocate for her daughter's healing as she searches for a solution.  After Anna has a freak accident, an extraordinary miracle unfolds in the wake of her dramatic rescue that leaves medical specialists mystified, her family restored, and their community inspired.

The Divergent Series: Allegiant
Starring: Shailene Woodley
Release Date: March 18
Based On: "Allegiant"
Author: Veronica Roth
Summary: Beatrice Prior and Tobias Eaton venture into the world outside of the fence and are taken into protective custody by a mysterious agency known as the Bureau of Genetic Welfare.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Starring: Henry Cavill
Release Date: March 25
Based On: DC Comics
Summary: Fearing the actions of Superman are left unchecked, Batman takes on Superman, while the world wrestles with what kind of a hero it really needs.  With Batman and Superman fighting each other, a new threat, Doomsday, is created by Lex Luthor.  It's up to Superman and Batman to set aside their differences, along with Wonder Woman, to stop Lex Luthor and Doomsday from destroying Metropolis.

I Saw the Light
Starring: Tom Hiddleston
Release Date: March 25
Author: Colin Escott et al
Summary: The story of the country-western singer Hank Williams, who in his brief life created one of the greatest bodies of work in American music.  The film chronicles his rise to fame and its tragic effect on his health and personal life.

And there you have it, your look at March's book-to-film adaptations to be on the lookout for.

New York Times Bestsellers Top 5 (Week of Feb. 29)

Many patrons browse the new materials section of the library to discover the latest reads.  Part of finding them is browsing the New York Times Bestsellers we make available at all locations.  Check out this blog entry to discover the latest to lead the pack on the Hardcover Fiction & Nonfiction lists for the upcoming week.

Hardcover Fiction Top 5

#1: Cometh the Hour
Author: Jeffrey Archer
Position Last Week: n/a
Weeks On List: 1
Call Number: F ARCHER
Format: Regular Print, Large-Type, Audiobook on CD
Summary: The sixth and penultimate book of the Clifton Chronicles brings the Cliftons and the Barringtons into the 1970s.

#2: All the Light We Cannot See
Author: Anthony Doerr
Position Last Week: 5
Weeks On List: 94
Call Number: F DOERR
Format: Regular Print, Large-Type, Audiobook on CD, Digital eBook, Digital Audiobook
Summary: The lives of a blind French girl and a gadget-obsessed German boy before and during World War II.

#3: The Girl on the Train
Author: Paula Hawkins
Position Last Week: 6
Weeks On List: 58
Call Number: F HAWKINS
Format: Regular Print, Large-Type, Audiobook on CD, Digital eBook, Digital Audiobook
Summary: A psychological thriller set in the environs of London.

#4: The Nightingale
Author: Kristin Hannah
Position Last Week: 8
Weeks On List: 51
Call Number: F HANNAH
Format: Regular Print, Large-Type, Audiobook on CD, Digital eBook, Digital Audiobook
Summary: Two sisters in World War II France: one struggling to survive in the countryside, the other joining the Resistance in Paris.

#5: Brotherhood in Death
Author: J.D. Robb
Position Last Week: 2
Weeks On List: 3
Call Number: M ROBB
Format: Regular Print, Large-Type, Audiobook on CD
Summary: Lt. Eve Dallas of the NYPD helps a friend and her husband solve a mystery involving politics and real estate; by Nora Roberts, writing pseudonymously.



Hardcover Nonfiction Top 5

#1: When Breath Becomes Air
Author: Paul Kalanithi
Position Last Week: 1
Weeks On List: 6
Call Number: 92 KALANITHI
Format:  Regular Print
Summary: A memoir by a physician who received a diagnosis of Stave IV lung cancer at the age of 36.

#2: A Mother's Reckoning
Author: Sue Klebold
Position Last Week: n/a
Weeks On List: 1
Call Number: 373.788 KLE
Format: Regular Print
Summary: The mother of one of the Columbine shooters wrestles with her grief and guilt and discusses how parents can become more aware of the signs of mental illness in teenagers.

#3: Between the World and Me
Author: Ta-Nehisi Coates
Position Last Week: 3
Weeks On List: 31
Call Number: 92 COATES
Format: Regular Print, Audiobook on CD
Summary: A meditation on race in America; winner of the National Book Award.

#4: The Name of God is Mercy
Author: Pope Francis
Position Last Week: 2
Weeks On List: 6
Call Number: 282.092 FRA
Format: Regular Print
Summary: In a conversation with a Vatican reporter, the pontiff explores the cornerstone of his faith.

#5: The Road to Little Dribbling
Author: Bill Bryson
Position Last Week: 4
Weeks On List: 5
Call Number: 914.104 BRY
Format: Regular Print, Large-Type
Summary: An American expatriate travels around his adopted country, Britain.

Look for these titles at your Abilene Public Library and discover why they've become such hits in mainstream literature.  If they're not available, get yourselves on the reserve lists and secure your spot in line.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Weekly Events @ Your LIbrary (Feb. 29 - Mar. 5)

Keep up with the great programs and events your Abilene Public Library has to offer by catching this weekly blog each Thursday.  For a complete listing, visit our main website to take a look at our events calendar.

Kids' AR Club
March 1 @ 6:00PM
Mockingbird Branch
1326 N. Mockingbird Ln.
PH: 325-437-7323
Youth, in grades K-5, are encouraged to attend our bi-monthly evening storytime events where we'll be sharing stories from the Accelerated Reader lists from AISD.  Hear great stories and have the chance to test on them at school to earn points. 

Anime Club @ Your Library
March 1 @ 6:30PM
Main Library
202 Cedar St.
PH: 325-676-6067
If you're between the ages of 13-25, and you're a fan of anime, don't miss your chance to be a part of this monthly club at your library.  Join other anime enthusiasts as we watch hit anime shows, discuss cosplay, and more.  There's no need to register, just come ready to have a little fun at your library. 

Free Tax Assistance
March 2-3; 10AM to 3PM
Main Library
202 Cedar St.
PH: 325-676-6025
The public is welcome to take advantage of this free service, led by IRS-trained volunteers with the AARP, who will help you e-File your taxes for free at your library.  Slots fill up fast, so be sure to arrive early, and everyone will be helped on a first-come, first-served basis.  Be sure to bring your tax materials including your Photo ID, W-2's, Social Security cards, etc., and multiple sessions will be hosted through Apr. 15. 

Make & Take: Rainbow Wands
March 3 @ 4:00PM
Mockingbird Branch
1326 N. Mockingbird Ln.
PH: 325-437-7323
Kids are invited to this after school crafting workshop where we'll be supplying all the materials needed to show them how to make their own Rainbow Wands.  Rainbows are often associated with March due to St. Patrick's Day, so come out and make your own rainbow with us.  It's a great way to spend an afternoon at your library. 

Collecting Commas Writing Club
March 3 @ 4:30PM
Main Library
202 Cedar St.
PH: 325-676-6067
If you're between the ages of 10-17, and you love to write, you'll want to be a part of our weekly writing club at your library.  Join your peers as we work on a variety of writing activities to help you hone your creative writing skills in all areas.  There's no need to register, just come out and give it a shot. 

Family Fun: Favorite Authors - Eric Carle
March 3 @ 6:00PM
South Branch
1401 S. Danville Dr.
PH: 325-698-7565
Don't miss the first Family Fun event of the month where the South Branch will be focusing on popular author/illustrator each time, and first up, we'll be enjoying the wonderful works of Eric Carle, author of "The Very Hungry Caterpillar," "Little Cloud," and other popular titles.  Designed for kids of all ages, join us for stories, songs, games, crafts, and more. 

The Coloring Club @ Your Library
March 3 @ 6:30PM
Main Library
202 Cedar St.
PH: 325-676-6025
Coloring isn't just for kids, it's something for all ages to enjoy...especially adults.  Coloring books aimed at older audiences are becoming all the rage now, and we host a monthly club for adults, ages 18+, to come together and spend an evening relaxing, socializing, and of course, coloring.  We'll supply all the materials you'll need, or you're more than welcome to bring your own. 

Free Tax Assistance
March 4-5; 10AM to 3PM
Mockingbird Branch
1326 N. Mockingbird Ln.
PH: 325-437-7323
The public is welcome to take advantage of this free service, led by IRS-trained volunteers from the AARP, who will help you e-File your taxes for free at your library.  Slots fill up fast, so be sure to arrive early, and everyone will be helped on a first-come, first-served basis.  Be sure to bring your tax materials including your Photo ID, W-2's, Social Security cards, etc., and multiple sessions will be hosted through Apr. 15. 

Super Storytime: Wish You Good Luck
March 4 @ 10:45AM
Main Library
202 Cedar St.
PH: 325-676-6067
Everyone could use a little luck in the month of March and we're inviting kids of all ages to attend this enhanced morning storytime event where we'll be enjoying great books and sing-along songs that are all about luck.  Plus, as a fun craft, you'll even get the chance to make four leaf clovers to take home and remember the program.

Don't miss out on these great activities being hosted at your library and get in on what we have to offer.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Texas Author Series Brings in Talented Texan Writers

The Friends of the Abilene Public Library is set to provide the community with great chances to meet talented authors from the Lone Star state in the latest installment of the Texas Author Series @ Your Library.  Five authors have been secured to provide FREE author talks across four separate program dates running in March and April, and you're invited to attend them all.

Each program will be hosted during the noon hour and guests are welcome to bring in their lunches, or purchase a light lunch from the Friends of the Library for $5, drinks provided.  Each session will offer an engaging presentation, Q&A, a chance to purchase copies of the featured works as well as participate in a book signing with the author/s.  All events will be hosted at the Main Library (202 Cedar St.).

The Texas Author Series is supported by a grant from the Abilene Cultural Affairs Council, HeARTS for the ARTS, the Abilene Arts Alliance, the City of Abilene, and the Texas Commission on the Arts.

2016's Featured Authors & Events

March 7, 2016 at Noon
Author: Dr. Tom Hutton
Book: "Carrying the Black Bag: A Neurologist's Bedside Tales"
Dr. Tom Hutton is an internationally recognized clinical and research neurologist and educator.  The past president of the Texas Neurological Society, Dr. Hutton served as professor and vice chairman of the Department of Medical and Surgical Neurology at the Texas Tech School of Medicine.  He now resides on his cattle ranch near Fredericksburg, TX.  In his book, he covers 30+ years of practicing in West Texas and Minnesota and how he discovered a doctor's best teachers are often his patients. 

March 28, 2016 at Noon
Author: Pam Morsi
Book: "Mr. Right Goes Wrong"
Pamela Morsi is a bestselling, award-winning novelist who finds humor in everyday life and honor in ordinary people.  As a former librarian, she's authored 28 titles and currently resides in San Antonio, TX with her husband and daughter.  In her featured book, you'll read about a man who's no longer Mr. Nice Guy.  Like a bad-choice-making boomerang, Mazy has returned to her mom's tiny house in Brandt Mountain.  But at this time, she's got her teenage son, True, in tow and no intention of messing up ever again.  Determined to rebuild her life, she's not here to make friends - or fall in love.  Eli has loved Mazy since they got pretend married in second grade.  But after being burned by Mazy for two decades, Eli's got a new strategy.  Mazy likes bad boys, so a bad boy is what he'll be.  How hard can it be to act like a jerk? 

April 11, 2016 at Noon
Author: Chuck Bailey
Book: "Texas Political Memorabilia: Buttons, Bumper Stickers, and Broadsides"
Chuck Bailey is a lawyer and lobbyist in Austin who began collecting Texas political memorabilia in sixth grade and has since amassed one of the largest and most exhaustive collections of this kind.  Bailey has worked in and around Texas politics throughout his career, and now he's taking you deep into his world in his book.  Inside, it presents the most exceptional, most memorable, and most informative examples of Texas political memorabilia covering everything from the presidential campaigns of Lyndon Johnson and both George Bushes, to U.S. House and Senate elections, to statewide races for governor and the Texas House and Senate, to county and city elections. 

April 25, 2016 at Noon
Authors: Nicole Sparks & Jenna Marwitz
Book: "It's Our Crockin' Life: Continuing Our Love of Crockin' Through Every Lifestyle"
Sparks & Marwitz (aka The Crockin' Girls) of Brownwood are here to give you a great collection of over 170 diverse slow cooker recipes to suit families of all lifestyles.  Whether you are on the go or a homebody, a small household or a family bursting at the seams, looking to cook fresh or have a sweet tooth, this book has a recipe for everyone's taste!  With a full-page colored photo for every recipe and its unique lay-flat binding, this cookbook may be your go-to solution in getting a home-cooked meal to the table.  Plus, if you attend their author talk, we're going to be serving up recipes straight from the book.

For more information about the Texas Author Series, contact us at 325-676-6025.

Tremain's Book Corner: "Code Zero" by: Jonathan Maberry

Code Zero (Joe Ledger Series #6)
Author: Jonathan Maberry
Reviewed By: Tremain Jackson, South Branch Manager
Personal Rating: 4 Stars

Book Summary: For years the Department of Military Science has fought to stop terrorists from using radical bioweapons - designer plagues, weaponized pathogens, genetically modified viruses, and even the zombie plague that first brought Ledger into the DMS.  These terrible weapons have been locked away in the world's most secure facility.  Until now.  Joe Ledger and Echo Team are scrambled when a highly elite team of killers breaks the unbreakable security and steals the world's most dangerous weapons.  Within days there are outbreaks of mass slaughter and murderous insanity across the American heartland.  Can Joe Ledger stop a brilliant and devious master criminal from turning the Land of the Free into the land of the dead? 

Personal Review: What a ride, what a ride...Maberry has done it again with the latest entry in this series.  For me, what's always made this series more raw was the fact that it's just not that a plague (or something of that magnitude that happens), it's the fact that these biological agents are being weaponized and thrust upon people as a form of terrorism.  No thank you, I'd rather believe it just happened rather than it being something that was intentional.

Yet, I digress, Maberry is incredible at constructing great and fast-paced action, using popular themes of interest to people today.  You've got it all in his stories.  The noble heroes, super-villains, action, intrigue, awesome smart-mouthed quips, and heart, and it's a book that keeps you wanting to read from start to finish in one setting, which I enjoy.

Now, if you haven't read the previous entries in this series, it's encouraged that you do.  Although this novel could function as a standalone, there are some items you'll need to know from previous books to be able to keep up (fully) with what's going on in this installment.

What I liked more about this entry was the level of anxiety I had while reading it, and even after putting it down, it stuck in my head...and you'll get no complaints from me on that.  This entry has a little more to do with the roots of the series, being more of a direct sequel to the first novel in the series since we're going back to a weaponized version of the zombie virus (I know, another zombie novel), but this is all coupled with one of the best villains ever...Mother Night.  Although it's not a mystery as to who Mother Night is (no spoilers for those who haven't read the series) what's interesting about her is the why because she's fifty shades of complex.

Following the same formula as the previous books in the series, I love the action added to it with Joe and his Echo Team and watching as one impossible situation gets thrown on top of another, and another, and another, and they must overcome them all to save the world.  It's awesome.

I would highly recommend this book for anyone who likes action/horror/adventure books, but I will state again that it's recommended that you start reading this series from the beginning, starting with Patient Zero, and then working your way up to this one.  Some entries are good, others are excellent, but overall, I've been enjoying the ride along the way with all of them.

Look out for Code Zero by Jonathan Maberry at your Abilene Public LIbrary, it'll be a great ride, and don't let the book cover turn you off.  It just lets you know how awesome the book is, haha.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Minecraft Mania Headed to APL

Your Abilene Public Library is all about encouraging creative digital connections in youth and teens, and we're expanding on that in March as we dive into the world of Minecraft.  Teens won't want to miss our first-ever gaming session on Tuesday, March 8 starting at 3:30PM.  Gamers, both beginners and skilled players, will be able to unite for digital gaming fun.

What is Minecraft?  It's an acclaimed game that's been popular since its release in 2011, and over the past couple years, gaming sessions have been thriving at public libraries to meet the demand of its legion of followers.  Minecraft is unique in that it allows gamers to build structures and environments using textured cubes.  Then users can interact with one another in these virtual worlds through different gaming modes including exploring, gathering, survival, combat, and more.


At the library's inaugural program, we'll provide teens with access to our mobile lab where we'll offer gaming to teen participants in 30-minute increments.  Library staff will be on hand to help orient gamers to the Minecraft world as well as cheer on more experienced gamers.  As we will have a limited number of laptops, those not playing will have the chance to make some Minecraft-inspired crafts.

We welcome all teens to come and try out this new form of gaming, and we're aiming to host even more sessions across all library locations in the future.  Don't miss the first gaming session at your Main Library on Tuesday, March 8 at 3:30PM. 

For more information about Minecraft, visit their Official Website.

Today's Top Book & DVD Releases

Everyone loves staying on top of the latest in books & DVDs and we receive them on a regular basis at your library.  Join us as we hit the highlights of some of the more popular titles being released today.

The Good Dinosaur
Starring: Jeffrey Wright
Summary: What if the asteroid that forever changed life on Earth missed and giant dinosaurs never became extreme?  In this epic journey into the world of dinosaurs, an Apatosaurus named Arlo makes an unlikely human friend.  While traveling through a harsh and mysterious landscape, Arlo learns the power of confronting his fears and discovers what he is truly capable of. 

Secret in Their Eyes
Starring: Julia Roberts
Summary: A former Los Angeles D.A. inspector spends 13 years hunting the killer who raped and murdered the teen daughter of his colleague.  But when he finds the culprit and the district attorney refuses to reopen the case, he is forced to pursue justice on his own, which ultimately leads to a shocking discovery. 

Spotlight
Starring: Michael Keaton
Summary: Under the direction of new editor Marty Baron, the Boston Globe's elite investigative team, known as Spotlight, is tasked with delving into decades' worth of child-abuse claims against the Catholic Church.  Led by Walter "Robby" Robinson, the journalists being to uncover a massive scandal involving sexual abuse and the willful ignorance perpetrated by the Church within the city of Boston.  Facing political opposition and resistance from the far-reaching influence of the Church, the reporters put together an explosive expose on a corrupt system. 

The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar
Starring: James Earl Jones
Summary: Meet Kion, second-born cub of Simba and Nala, as he assumes the role of leader of "The Lion Guard," an elite team of animals tasked with preserving the Pride Lands.  Follow him as he assembles a group of unlikely heroes: Bunga the honey badger, Fuli the cheetah, Beshte the hippo and Ono the egret.  Join them on a thrilling adventure as they use their unique abilities to defend the Pride Lands from predators and maintain balance within the Circle of Life. 

A Girl's Guide to Moving On
Author: Debbie Macomber
Summary: When Nichole discovers that her husband, Jake, has been unfaithful, the illusion of her perfect life is indelibly shattered.  While juggling her young son, a new job, and volunteer work, Nichole meets Rocco, who is the opposite of Jake in nearly every way.  Though blunt-spoken and rough around the edges, Rocco proves to be a dedicated father and thoughtful friend.  But just as their relationship begins to blossom, Jake wagers everything on winning Nichole back - including their son Owen's happiness.  Somehow, Nichole must find the courage to defy her fears and follow her heart. 

Wedding Cake Murder (Hannah Swensen Series #19)
Author: Joanne Fluke
Summary: Hannah is thrilled to be marrying Ross, her college crush.  And her excitement only grows when she learns he'll be able to join her on her trip to NYC for the Food Channel's dessert chef contest.  She's especially nervous about facing Alain Duquesne, a celebrity chef with a nasty reputation.  But before he can tear into Hannah's layer cake, she finds him stabbed to death on the show's kitchen set.  Out of the oven, as the saying goes, and into the bright lights of Broadway, as Hannah tries to solve a mystery with more layers than a five-tiered wedding cake... 

Look for these great titles at your Abilene Public Library and get yourselves on the reserve lists so you're certain to keep up with some of the popular releases of the week.

Monday, February 22, 2016

"Books Take Different Looks at the Father of Our Country" | @ the Library Article

Since 1971's advent of President's Day as the all-purpose holiday to honor those who have served this country in its highest office, the individuals have sometimes gotten lost in the shuffle.  Today is the actual birthday of our first President, George Washington, who was, in the words of General Henry "Light-Horse Harry" Lee "First in war, first in peace and first in the hearts of his countrymen."  Your Abilene Public Library has some wonderful interpretations of Washington's life that may bring you to a new appreciation of the man and the history you learned as a youngster.

George Washington: The Founding Father by Paul Johnson presents a concise and vivid look at our first president.  Johnson, a British historian, doesn't have Americans' natural inclination to deify Washington, but he does have a great deal of respect for his subject, setting out both the good and the bad in Washington's character.

Washington: A Life by Pulitzer Prize winner Ron Chernow has been heralded as "the definitive biography" of Washington.  Rather than "a lifeless waxwork," Chernow presents Washington as "a dashing, passionate man of fiery opinions and many moods.  At the same time, Washingtong is an astute and surprising portrait of a canny political genius who knew how to inspire people."  Truly a work intended to take the reader beyond the stereotypical textbook treatment.

General George Washington: A Military Life opines that Washington was not a great general.  Author/historian Edward Lengel believes many of Washington's shortcomings, including impulsiveness, overconfidence, misjudgment of his enemy, and his being a poor tactician, were demonstrated in his first major engagement at Fort Necessity (Pennsylvania) in 1754 and were to be repeated throughout his military career.  Lengel says despite these shortcomings, Washington possessed the perfect combination of personal, social, political, and leadership skills to win the war with England...a unique combination that made Washington a truly great man and the only leader of that period who could have accomplished what he did.

The title Washington's Secret War: The Hidden History of Valley Forge is a bit misleading, since the information in Thomas Fleming's book is neither new, nor hidden.  However, Fleming's point is that Washington was not simply fighting the elements and attacks by the nearby British, he was also reckoning with backstabbing members of the Continental Congress and fellow army officers who deemed him inadequate.  Readers will find this "an original and provocative reinterpretation of a critical period in the struggle for independence."

His Excellency: George Washington by Joseph Ellis and An Imperfect God: George Washington, His Slaves and the Creation of America by Henry Wiencek both present fresh, but not revisionist, portraits of "the Foundingest Father of them all."  Both books deal with Washington's character and his position on slavery, an apt discovery during Black History Month.  Ellis determines that Washington's decisions on slavery were driven more by economics and posterity than purely by morality, while Wiencek stands out for depicting Washington's deep moral struggle with slavery and his gradual "moral transfiguration" after watching some young slaves raffled off.  Both Wiencek and Ellis do an excellent job of infusing a sometimes remote national icon with breath and life, so that readers are able to see the human Washington.

There are just a few of the many books we have on Washington.  Views of history change daily, and while one may not agree with new interpretations of long held beliefs, fresh ideas and discoveries only bring the past closer and make it more understandable.  Thus is history, at your Abilene Public Library, there for your entertainment, education and enlightenment.  Come enjoy!

Article Contributed by Janis C. Test, Information Services Manager at the Main Branch of the Abilene Public Library

Saturday, February 20, 2016

March's Cover-to-Cover Book Club Selection

If you're looking for a great book club discussion group, try our Cover-to-Cover Book Club at your Abilene Public Library.  Meeting on the third Thursdays of the month, this group reads everything including bestsellers, fiction, biographies, nonfiction, classics, and more.

For March, the featured selection is Soldier Girls by Helen Thorpe and we invite you to look out for a copy at your library and then attend the book club on Thursday, March 17 at 7:00PM.  For more information, contact Ann Mount at 325-676-6025. 

Soldier Girls
Author: Helen Thorpe
Summary: Helen Thorpe follows the lives of three women over twelve years on their paths to the military, overseas to combat, and back home...and then overseas again for two of them.  These women, who are quite different in every way, become friends, and we watch their interaction and also what happens when they are separated.  We see their families, their lovers, their spouses, their children.  We see them work extremely hard, deal with the attentions of men on base and in war zones, and struggle to stay connected to their families back home.  We see some of them drink too much, have affairs, and react to the deaths of fellow soldiers.  And we see what happens to one of them when the truck is driving hits an explosive in the road, blowing it up.  She survives, but her life may never be the same again.

Be sure to check out this title from your Abilene Public Library, or borrow one from a friend, and come out ready to discuss this title with other avid readers in the community on Thursday, March 17 @ 7:00PM.

Friday, February 19, 2016

New York Times Bestsellers Top 5 (Week of Feb. 21)

Many patrons browse the new materials section of the library to discover the latest reads.  Part of finding them is browsing the New York Times Bestsellers lists we make available at all locations.  Check out this blog entry to discover the latest to lead the pack on the Hardcover Fiction & Nonfiction lists for the upcoming week.

Hardcover Fiction Top 5

#1: Morning Star
Author: Pierce Brown
Position Last Week: n/a
Weeks On List: 1
Call Number: SF BROWN
Format: Regular Print
Summary: In Book 3 of the Red Rising trilogy, set in a dystopian future, Darrow incites a rebellion.

#2: Brotherhood in Death
Author: J.D. Robb
Position Last Week: 1
Weeks On List: 2
Call Number: M ROBB
Format: Regular Print, Large-Type, Audiobook on CD
Summary: Lt. Eve Dallas of the NYPD helps a friend and her husband solve a mystery involving politics and real estate; by Nora Roberts, writing pseudonymously.

#3: NYPD Red 4
Author: James Patterson
Position Last Week: 2
Weeks On List: 3
Call Number: M PATTERSON
Format: Regular Print, Large-Type, Audiobook on CD
Summary: Detective Zach Gordon and his partner, members of an elite task force that protects the rich and famous, pursue a cold-blooded killer.

#4: Find Her
Author: Lisa Gardner
Position Last Week: n/a
Weeks On List: 1
Call Number: M GARDNER
Format: Regular Print, Large-Type, Audiobook on CD
Summary: The Boston detective D.D. Warren hunts for a missing woman who was kidnapped and abused as a college student and may have become a vigilante.

#5: All the Light We Cannot See
Author: Anthony Doerr
Position Last Week: 3
Weeks On List: 93
Call Number: F DOERR
Format: Regular Print, Large-Type, Audiobook on CD, Digital eBook, Digital Audiobook
Summary: The lives of a blind French girl and a gadget-obsessed German boy before and during World War II.



Hardcover Nonfiction Top 5

#1: When Breath Becomes Air
Author: Paul Kalanithi
Position Last Week: 1
Weeks On List: 5
Call Number: Not Housed
Summary: A memoir by a physician who received a diagnosis of Stage IV lung cancer at the age of 36.

#2: The Name of God is Mercy
Author: Pope Francis
Position Last Week: 4
Weeks On List: 5
Call Number: Not Housed
Summary: In a conversation with a Vatican reporter, the pontiff explores the cornerstone of his faith.

#3: Between the World and Me
Author: Ta-Nehisi Coates
Position Last Week: 3
Weeks On List: 31
Call Number: 92 COATES
Format: Regular Print, Audiobook on CD
Summary: A meditation on race in America; winner of the National Book Award.

#4: The Road to Little Dribbling
Author: Bill Bryson
Position Last Week: 5
Weeks On List: 4
Call Number: 914.104 BRY
Format: Regular Print
Summary: An American expatriate travels around his adopted country, Britain.

#5: Turning the Tables
Author: Teresa Giudice
Position Last Week: n/a
Weeks On List: 1
Call Number: 92 GIUDICE
Format: Regular Print
Summary: One of the "Real Housewives of New Jersey" looks back on her life, including time in prison following a federal fraud conviction.

Look out for these titles at your Abilene Public Library and discover why they've become such hits in mainstream literature.  If they're not available, get yourselves on the reserve lists and secure your spot in line.